Single Review

Blue Rose Code – Thirteen Years: Single Review

Blue Rose Code have released a powerful new single, calling out injustice and inequality, and providing some great live music performances.

Release date: Available now

Label: Self-released

Format: CD and Digital

Ross Wilson and Blue Rose Code have never stood still, whether it be recorded music or live performances. The new single Thirteen Years is a case in point, providing a rousing lead title song, that is a powerful voice of protest against inequality and injustice. Accompanying this are three dynamic live performances, from a concert at the Perth Theatre in Scotland, that brilliantly rework three well known songs from Ross’s repertoire.

All proceeds from the single, will go to the charity, Children 1st. Ross has said about the release:

We live in the sixth richest economy in the world, yet roughly four million kids in the UK are going to bed hungry and to school with no lunch, while front line workers who risked their lives during the pandemic are using food banks and can’t afford to heat their homes. After 13 years of austerity in the UK, it felt right to highlight these shameful circumstances, and to encourage others to question this unacceptable situation. Children 1st do amazing work in providing support to children, so it was only right all proceeds from the single go towards such a vital cause.”

The song Thirteen Years has an anger and sense of injustice, that comes across uncompromisingly in the music, vocal and words. Distorted guitar, thumping drums and a strident brass section galvanise the song. Ross sings with empathy and determination, conveying the need for change in a situation of intolerable inequality.

When he sings “Do you ever ask yourself. Is this the world we want? Is this the world we want to be?” it is a question rightly posed to us all. Ross and Blue Rose Code are to be commended for utilising their music to comment in this way and encourage people to ask questions. A song for our time.

Turning to the live recordings on the single. The concert at the Perth Theatre by all accounts saw Ross and Blue Rose Code on incendiary form. You can absolutely hear this on the three live recordings on this single. The current band deliver a heady mix of soul and jazz that set Ross’s songs in a vibrant and dynamic musical context. Listening to these live performances, the atmosphere that hurtles out of the speakers, is of a jazz-influenced soul revue, of the sort Van Morrison delivered on It’s Too Late To Stop Now. I can’t think of any greater praise.

Bluebell from the 2017 album The Water of Leith, is performed with a gentle flowing build up, with the band enveloping Ross’s voice. An expressive saxophone solo is the signal for Ross’s vocal to raise up the passion inherent in this great song. The horn arrangements are just sublime, and a final coda has Ross improvising with the song’s words over a reverberating trombone solo.

Nashville Blue, from the same album, is played as a very cool rhythm and blues, with Lyle Watt exceptional on clipped rhythm guitar. The song has an irresistible swing, generated by the magnificent jazz schooled rhythm section and piano. Ross’s vocal is brilliantly soulful while also offering a plaintive tonality in the words. When Ross sings “I tried to make my peace with an angry moonlight. I was full of discontentedness, you know the Perthshire kind of blues”, the audience let Ross know they are with him.

Silent Drums, from the 2014 album The Ballads of Peckham Rye is an earlier song that Ross is constantly reinterpreting in the live setting. It is a measure of how good the song is, that it lends itself to this constant creative reimagining. The performance here has a breathtaking big band jazz sound, full of rhythmic drive and melodic horn accents. Ross’s vocal soars, pleads, becomes gentler, and quite simply demands your attention. It is a classic vocal performance you really need to hear. Everything is supported by Lyle Watt’s sympathetic and angular guitar playing, that wouldn’t be out of place on a Steely Dan album. It’s that good.

You can view the official music video for Thirteen Years donated by Into Creative here:

You can find out more about Blue Rose Code here: Website / Facebook / Twitter

If you would like to keep up with At The Barrier, you can like us on Facebook here, follow us on Twitter here, and follow us on Instagram here. We really appreciate all your support.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.